ProgressNow Colorado delivers names, comments of nearly 5,000 citizens demanding Gessler give up irresponsible "moonlighting" plans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 27th 2010
DENVER: Responding to the week-long controversy over Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's decision to continue working part time for his law firm while he serves, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, today delivered a petition signed by nearly 5,000 citizens to Gessler's office--demanding that Gessler abandon this irresponsible plan.
"The response to our call for Gessler to give up his 'moonlighting' plans was overwhelming," said Kjersten Forseth, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. "What you're seeing today is an outraged answer from both sides of the aisle to an irresponsible and hopelessly conflicted situation. It's time for Gessler to listen to what the people of Colorado are very clearly saying, or step down."
Gessler's law firm the Hackstaff Law Group, formerly Hackstaff Gessler, has represented some of the most politically controversial right wing groups and candidates in the state. Gessler has asserted that he will not take cases that could conflict with his duties as Secretary of State, but leading ethics watchdogs such as Colorado Ethics Watch have denounced Gessler's decision, noting that he would be shielded from many necessary disclosures by attorney-client privilege.
The Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Grand Junction Sentinel have all published editorials this week condemning Gessler's plan. As of Thursday afternoon, 4,916 people have signed ProgressNow Colorado's petition--with more continuing to come in.
"Thousands of ProgressNow Colorado members signed this petition, but also many more who received it from friends and colleagues, or found it online through a variety of sources," said Forseth. "Colorado citizens understand clearly that Gessler's previous work for this law firm creates a massive conflict of interest with his duties as Secretary of State--potentially endangering free and fair elections here. They are appalled that Gessler claims he 'can't survive' on an income significantly higher than the average in Colorado, and they cannot reconcile his claims with his right wing colleagues in the Colorado legislature who just voted to cut school breakfast funding for poor children.
"They also understand that Gessler did win the election, and he is Colorado's Secretary of State," concluded Forseth. "That is why we are calling today for Gessler to do the right thing, put an end to this distracting controversy, and agree to put the interests of Colorado first as he swore to do just a couple of weeks ago. Colorado needs a full-time Secretary of State, whose interests will not be subject to continuous second-guessing due to an avoidable conflict. It is only if Gessler cannot do that should he be asked to resign."